HONNOLD'S YOSEMITE YEAR: A FREE-CLIMBING EXTRAVAGANZA

Posted on: October 30, 2007


The Yosemite Valley has seen a great amount of activity in the last few years in the realm of free ascents, free-solo ascents, enchainments and speed ascents. Alex Honnold has had a very busy year, with free solo ascents of both Astroman (5.11c, 300m) and the Regular North Face of the Rostrum in a day, a free ascent of Salathe Wall (VI 5.13b/c, ca. 3,200') and a one-day free ascent of Freerider (VI 5.12d, 37 pitches). [Photo] Luke Bauer

Alex Honnold had a busy year in Yosemite that kept getting better. In May, he made a one-day free ascent of Freerider (VI 5.12d, 37 pitches). In September he free soloed both Astroman (5.11c, 300m) and the Regular North Face of the Rostrum in a day. And in October he free climbed Salathe Wall (VI 5.13b/c, ca. 3,200').

Honnold's free solo of Astroman (5.11c, 10 pitches) is the third such ascent on record. In 1987 the prolific Peter Croft did both the first free solo of Astroman and the first free-solo link up of Astroman and The Rostrum. Dean Potter accomplished the second free solo of Astroman in April of 2000.

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Honnold climbed all of the harder variations on Astroman, including the 5.11c Boulder Problem and the 5.11b pitch above the Harding Slot, according to a SuperTopo.com posting.

Later in the day Honnold soloed the Regular North Face of the Rostrum using the 5.10 variation at the second pitch to avoid a party on the 5.11a variant. The route originally was climbed free via the Blind Faith finish in 1977 by John Yablonsky and Ron Kauk. A variation using the original finishing pitches can be climbed at 5.12 or 5.13 and rarely is completed.

Honnold's October ascent of Salathe is the eleventh free ascent of the route. He rappelled from the top to stash gear on top of The Block, then continued rappelling to the base. The following day he and his partner climbed up to The Block, where they rested for a day and took advantage of the stashed bivy gear. They climbed the remainder of the route on their third day on the wall.

The first free ascent of Salathe was made in June of 1988 by Todd Skinner and Paul Piana, who—after thirty days of attempts—took seven days on their final free push. Alex Huber—who, with brother Thomas, recently set a new speed record in the valley—climbed a new free variation of Salathe in 1995 that avoided two of the original pitches. All of the recorded free ascents of the Salathe, with the exception of Jim Herson's, who climbed the original Skinner-Piana pitches in his 2003 free ascent of the route, use the Alex Huber variations.

Freerider is a variation on the Slathe Wall that avoids the 5.13 Salathe Headwall, using both Alex Huber's 1995 variations to the Salathe route as well as three pitches of the route Excalibur to ascend the wall at a relatively easier grade of 5.12d. Honnold, with partner Brian Kimball following every pitch free, climbed the route in a day.

Souces: www.speedclimb.com, www.supertopo.com, www.huberbaum.de, www.paulpiana.com, www.stanford.edu and www.mountainproject.com



Comments
AS

Found this on Supertopo? Summitpost? I've forgotten now. Regardless, it's pretty cool.

On Sunday 23rd September, Lee Cossey from Australia toped out on El Nino 5.13c on El Cap. After making a ground up free ascent, onsighting or flashing all but three of the 30 ptiches. Of the seven 5.13 pitches Lee flashed one and onsighted four including the Royal Arch 5.13c. He redpointed three pitches, which were sent second shot those being The Galapagos 5.13c, the traverse to Rotten Island 5.12c (when a large foothold broke), and the Lucy is a Labrador pitch 5.13a.

"We set off with the goal of both freeing every pitch ground up on our first attempt. Lawry put holes in a few finger tips working the lower hard pitches and was no longer able to pull on small holds. With Lee still on for a free ascent we continued to the top over six days, Lee doing the climbing and Lawry doing the majority of the hauling. We also got to experience just about every weather condition imaginable, from crazy heat to hail wind and rain."

The previous week the pair made a ground up ascent of Free Rider, both freeing every pitch. Losing plenty of blood to the monster offwidths!

2007-11-06 11:13:04
peewee

You guys forgot to mantion that Alex is the second climber to link the 3 headwall pitches. Yuji Hirayama called the link-up 13d...

Fuck Yeah Alex! Way to Go! Keep on impressing us all.

JP (Peewee)

2007-11-02 10:45:22
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